The Missouri men’s basketball team grabbed its 25th victory of the season -- the most through 27 games for the program since 1990 -- by downing Texas A&M 71-62 at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, where the Tigers (25-2, 12-2 Big 12 Conference) had not prevailed in 11 years.
Senior guard Kim English led the Tigers with 21 points on 60 percent shooting from the field while corralling six rebounds and four steals. Junior point guard Michael Dixon notched his sixth game scoring in double digits with 15 points.
The Tigers were without Dixon, the point man off the bench, for the majority of the first half due to his two early fouls. The team’s leading scorer, senior guard Marcus Denmon, only added two points going into the locker room.
Against the Big 12 Conference’s second-worst scoring team, Missouri struggled to gain separation throughout the first half. The Aggies engineered an 8-2 scoring run and tied the game at 24 before the two-minute mark.
But then the Tigers strung a 7-0 run of their own out of the half’s final TV timeout after a dunk from senior center Steve Moore and five free throws between sophomore point Phil Pressey and English to take a 31-24 advantage. Pressey led the half with 11 of his 13 points in the game. English added eight points, with two three-pointers.
English’s shooting hand continued to spark as Denmon, who would go on to finish with 14 points, picked up fire entering the second frame. Through the first 10 minutes, the tandem scored all of its team’s points until Dixon entered the game and made his own contributions.
Dixon scored 11 of Missouri’s 13 points in the span of five minutes. With a minute and a half remaining in the game and the Tigers in command, he controlled the ball and watched seconds tick off the shot clock before lofting an ill-advised shot from the top of the key that only found air.
On the other end, the Aggies’ Elston Turner connected from the perimeter and brought the game within five.
Out of the opponent’s timeout, Pressey committed Missouri’s 14th turnover and Texas A&M had an opportunity to slice the lead again.
Moore was being backed down on the block until he stood firm and fell, forcing an offensive charge and giving the Tigers a crucial possession to close the game. With that possession, Denmon drilled a dagger of a three-pointer.
Missouri will look to avenge its first loss of the season at Kansas State when it hosts the Wildcats on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.